From the book lists at Adware Report:

All information current as of 20:04:57 Pacific Time, Friday, 4 February 2005.

Digital Capital: Harnessing the Power of Business Webs

   by Don Tapscott / David Ticoll / David Ticoll / Alex Lowy

    Harvard Business School Press
    May, 2000


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Editorial description(s):
God forbid that doing business and making money on the Internet should bear any resemblance whatsoever to the past millennium of bricks-and-mortar capitalism--that would be too easy. Nope, it's a whole different ball game now, and the new rule is: adapt or die. At least that's the message behind Digital Capital. From the three principal cyberconsultants at the Alliance for Converging Technologies (one of whom, Don Tapscott, authored the bestsellers
and Growing Up Digital), comes a paradigm for global takeover: the business web, or "b-web" for short. In their words, b-webs are "strategically aligned, multi-enterprise partner networks of producers, suppliers, service providers, infrastructure companies, and customers that conduct business communication and transactions via digital channels." Some examples are eBay, Cisco, Dell, in short, any enterprise that a) knows how to form lateral partnerships with other goods-or-service providers, and b) eliminates the role of planes, trains, and automobiles--not to mention lots of time, money, and human energy--by doing almost everything over the Internet. Not only do the authors provide a wealth of b-web case studies (including Charles Schwab,, Webvan, AT&T Solutions, and OptiMark in addition to those mentioned above), they outline a step by-step process for weaving a b-web of one's own.

Too often, Digital Capital's sound ideas come marinated in think-tank jargon so alienated from plain English as to be nearly impenetrable. Consider: "Disaggregation leads to 'disintermediation' and 'reintermediation'," which, believe it or not, isn't a line that French film theorists use in pick-up bars, but the simple statement that business webs manage to cut out a lot of the traditional steps between producers and customers. Now why couldn't they just have said that? No matter. After you nibble through the self-important MBA-speak, you'll find a smart look at how online shops are rewiring early 21st-century capitalism. --Timothy Murphy

From Publishers Weekly
Building on concepts that have been around for more than a decade, the authors argue convincingly that the age of the trillion-dollar enterprise, where two or more companies come together to complete one project, and then go their separate ways, competing against one another for the next, may finally be at hand. Managers who are grappling with ways to expand rapidly with limited resourcesAa description that fits just about every managerAare bound to be intrigued by the argument that Tapscott (The Digital Economy), Ticoll and LowyApartners at the Alliance for Converging Technologies consulting firmAput forth. As they see it, the Internet eliminates almost all of the transaction problems that have plagued alliances up until now. Alliance partners no longer have to be in the same location, since the Web makes communication instantaneous, which in turn makes managing enterprises easier. Continuous market feedback is possible, since customers can be plugged into the network, along with suppliers and subcontractors. That's intriguing enough, but the authors go further and outline how five possible types of alliances, or "business webs," can be tailored to suit virtually any company. While the authors give relatively short shrift to the "how to" component of constructing these webs and they don't spend as much time as they might on exactly where employees fit into them, those shortcomings don't distract too much from their otherwise trenchant and absorbing presentation. While the future may evolve differently than the authors envision it, they have provided a workable interim blueprint for getting from here to there. (July)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Klaus Schwab, President, World Economic Forum
"Digital Capital provides a powerful intellectual framework for thinking and acting in the new economy..."

Gerald W. Schwartz, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Onex Corporation
"Digital Capital takes you beyond the theoretical model [of the digital economy] and reveals the how-tos of preparing your business for the future."

About the Authors
Don Tapscott is author of the international bestsellers The Digital Economy and Growing up Digital. With David Ticoll and Alex Lowy, he also coedited Blueprint to the Digital Economy. Tapscott is Chairman, David Ticoll is CEO, and Alex Lowy is Managing Director of the Alliance for Converging Technologies, an international research and consulting group that advises corporations and governments worldwide on strategy in the digital economy.

Book Description
The industrial-age corporation is crumbling. The new form of wealth creation is the business web,and the new basis of wealth is digital capital.

Schwab, eBay, Cisco, MP3, Linux, and dozens of other companies have transformed the rules of competition in their industries, seemingly overnight. They hijacked long-entrenched industry leaders with revolutionary offerings that surprised and delighted customers. These transformers could not and did not act alone: partners enabled them to move with stealth, speed, agility, and force. Such teams of innovators pioneered the business web, or "b-web", the new platform for competition in the twenty-first century. B-webs partner networks of producers, service providers, suppliers, infrastructure companies, and customers linked via digital channels are destroying the firm as we have known it and generating wealth in entirely new ways.

In Digital Capital, information-age visionaries Don Tapscott, David Ticoll, and Alex Lowy describe and explain the b-web phenomenon and the forces behind its emergence. Drawing on three years of multimillion-dollar research into hundreds of b-webs as diverse as the Microsoft alliance and the automotive industry, the authors illuminate the five distinct types of b-web now in play: Agoras, Aggregations, Value Chains, Alliances, and Distributive Networks. Punctuating their analysis with a rich set of case studies, they provide the definitive guide to business model innovation in the digital economy.

The book includes:
* The untold real story behind the story on successes like eBay, Cisco, Linux, Schwab, and Priceline
* Positioning and analysis of emergent e-businesses like Webvan, OptiMark, AT&T Solutions, and Enron
* A step-by-step process for b-web strategy design
* A new approach to maximizing organizational effectiveness in a multi-enterprise environment
* The "ABCDE's" of marketing--heir to the "four P's" of the industrial age
* Guidelines for deciding whether to hire, buy, or partner a needed capability
* A new set of lenses for viewing the stock market

The authors warn that participation in b-webs is not optional. To encounter and satisfy the digital customer, firms must lead or partner in one or more of these new business networks. While no single path leads to b-web success, businesses will adopt effective b-web strategies-or they will simply fade away.

Sustaining advantage in the digital economy demands more than superficial actions like attracting "eyeballs," launching a hot IPO, following "new rules," building a cool Web site, or even just focusing on customers. In Digital Capital we finally have a book that gets beyond whiz-bang clichés to today's central issues of competitive strategy.

Reader review(s):

Establishing Improved Business Models in a Connected Age, June 21, 2000
This is one of the few business books that dare address the central issue for most companies today: How to establish competitively-advantaged business models for serving customers that capture the power of the Internet to work with others. Anyone who doesn't know what they want to do for an Internet-based business model or doesn't like the one they have will get great benefit from this book.

Like Blown to Bits, Digital Capital looks squarely at the economic impact of the Internet on existing business models. But Digital Capital goes further in laying out the necessary steps to build on five business models that have been working that involve creating business networks that are Internet enabled (b-webs in the parlance of this book).

You will instantly recognize the five business model types, because the authors provide lots of examples (at least some of which will be familiar to you) and lists of characteristics of each type.

You will also know how to go from where you are to reaching one of these archetypes by the strategy directions the authors provide. The only drawback of this section is that the language gets a little b-schoolish (and full of very long words).

The conceptual basis of the work is sound. The only two points that were not discussed were (1) how these models might evolve into more powerful models in the future, and (2) how they might merge with each other.

Where the book is at its best is in helping you think through how to add other companies into a related web of interests to get more done -- thinking that goes well beyond the well-known outsourcing mindset.

Good luck with improving your Internet-based business model! Keep in mind that technology will evolve rapidly and enable some new business models that can only be dreamed about today in just 3-5 years. So be sure to look at the irresistible forces of technology development in thinking ahead.

Digital Capital delivers: Smart and Practical, May 18, 2000
Over the past three or four years I've probably read a dozen books and countless articles on the '' world. Almost without exception, these books and articles are exciting while you read them and unsatisfying afterwards: they tend to be full of heady prognostications and promises (we're all going to be instant millionaires if we just "get online") but they don't deliver any concrete advice or action. So I was very pleasantly surprised by Digital Capital. These guys get it: doing business on the Internet means rethinking your business model and throwing out your old assumptions about relationships with competitors, suppliers, and customers. Best of all, they include sections on "key success factors" and "leader's guides" for each of their business models. This book is definitely smarter AND more practical than most others in the field.

Platinum Pot Roast, August 29, 2000
Who should read this book? Those who need answers to the following questions:

* What are the driving forces of the digital economy?

* How can my organization manage those forces to its maximum advantage?

* What are the new models of wealth creation? Which is most appropriate for my organization? Why?

* What are the most effective strategies for establishing and then developing value chains, alliances, and distributive networks?

* What are the most important human and relationship elements of digital capital?

* What are the various steps to "weaving" a Business Web?

* What are the best strategies for "harvesting" digital capital?

Given the importance of harnessing the power of Business Webs, if you and others in your organization are struggling to answer questions such as these or if you and they don't even know which questions to ask, I strongly recommend this book. To derive greatest value from it, make it required reading for all key people and then go off-site for 3-5 days and discuss it. Stay wherever you are until you have a game plan...then come back and make it work!

The next generation of e-business explained., May 8, 2000
Many books I've read on how the internet will change business consist of musings and mumblings about the trend of the day or compiling a years worth of news clippings and calling it a book. This book is different because the authors have clearly rolled up their sleeves and done some actual first-hand research on what is really happening at the cutting edge of business and the internet. The result of this old fashion, gum-shoe effort shows forth clearly as they rise above the haze of the internet and the trough of dotcom Wall Street and shows the reader what the next generation of e business is all about. Some companies like Cisco have already figured it out and they explain why. The rest of us have our work cut out for us, but at least this book give one a solid idea of where all of this e-business stuff is going. Bravo!

Mature Structured View of e-Micro Economics, November 30, 2000
`Digital Capital' offers startups, consultants, and educators a structured look at the micro-economics of b-webs (business webs utilizing Internet technologies).

The well-written, referenced, and structured chapters span in 4 parts:

++ 1- Introduction- value introduction through business webs.

++ 2- New Models of Wealth Creation- agoras, aggregations, value chains, alliances, and distributive networks.

++ 3- The Human and Relationship Elements of Digital Capital- people, and marketing.

++ 4- Strategies for Business Webs- how to weave a b-web, and harvesting digital capital.

Strengths include: the balanced dry (?unemotional) writing style; the excellent use of tables (perhaps best examples seen this year) and figures; the relative depth of the b-web framework and content (b-web strategy design, marketing, staffing etc..).

Unfortunately, about 25% pagecount reduction is possible for the content; and there are several technical errors (e.g. EDI not started in 90s, and Fraunhofer Institute is not just an industrial electronics research company, to name two). Also, perhaps links with formal micro-economic modeling would further strengthen the b-web framework (to this reviewer, it felt a bit MBA-made-up speak, at times (!)).

Overall, a useful mature look at the dynamic economics of b-webs in the global marketplace.

Straight and to the point...., May 25, 2000
I'll admit it: I read a lot of business books, Internet and otherwise, and most of them either bore me to tears or confuse the hell out of me. This one is that rare exception that makes an interesting argument in a clear and straightforward style. The big benefit of e-business is the ability to connect almost instantly with your customers, suppliers, distributors, and even your competition. This book tells you how to do that by building a "business web" to maximize your interactions with these constituents. The traditional integrated firm may not be dead quite yet, but it's certainly headed that way, and we're all going to have to figure out a new way to do business. These authors provide balanced and intelligent guidance.

The material is old...., August 28, 2000
This book might have been cutting edge 2 years ago with the hype that created the Internet Bubble. But, a lot has happened in the last couple of years that debunk a lot of theories put forth in this book.

Several of the case studies that the authors tout as market destroyers are actually either going out of business or being bought for a pittance. Example Optimark.

Also, the authors present a lot of theories without any depth. How to translate stories into actions. There is a lot of breathless discussion of disaggregation, reaggregation, but very little guidance on how do this in a complex companies. These simplistic ideas don't work very well in complex organizations with multi-layered value chains servicing different customer segments and product lines.

My take-away was another attempt by so-called "digital gurus" to drum up consulting business.

e-business rendered transparent, May 18, 2000
Great book. I particularly liked the chapters on human resources and marketing: too many e-business books get all worked up about technology and ignore these very real and very human elements of doing business. Over the past thirty years I've worked in many fields and many countries, and I've always found that success or failure depends in large part on the strength of your communications infrastructure. This book's quite elegant model of the "business web," in which producers, suppliers, and customers build transparent and flexible relationships with one another, convinces me that there's more to e-business than the usual hype and hysterics. Highly recommended.

A pleasant relief from e-babble, July 21, 2000
Don Tapscott deserves a tremendous amount of respect for trying to tie his ideas about the New Economy to specific examples, and for putting a stake in the ground with falsifiable assertions about what does and what doesn't work in e-business. In his latest book, he argues that the horizontal linkages made possible by the Internet (which allows for much tighter integration of different firms at much lower costs) will allow category killers to arise in both New and Old Economy niches. This is a serious idea, and one that deserves the detailed attention he gives it.

I am not entirely sure he's right. Companies like Webvan, which he cites in a case study, will succeed or fail based on how well they handle the old-fashioned problem of distribution. Only companies with NO physical product unambiguously meet his definition of taking full advantage of the "b-web."

Still, Tapscott has an interesting idea, and he has argued it well. Whether or not you agree, reading this book will force you to reconsider your own position, and that in itself is valuable.

This is the book for all startups, June 26, 2000
I rated this book 5 stars for these reasons: 1)Excellent book for startups - it will not tell you how to do it but will certainly tell you where you are in the big complex b-web called the new economy - great for start ups who are always struggling with their business models 2)Was thinking of doing an MBA to understand business models but decided not to do it till I chew and digest this book completely - the 'old business models' may have to be thrown away 3)Helped me tremendously in changing my current mindset - that mind that was shaped under the old 'brick and mortar', linear model way of thinking.

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